Full Circle in Puerto Rico

It has been some time since I’ve written here. Not for lack of caring or neglect but rather for personal reasons.  I have written though,  taken notes along the way and worked on improving my poetry. But, what brings me here now is the heart wrenching news that comes from the beloved homeland of my parents, Puerto Rico. It’s exactly what I continuously wrote about on my blog, Efrain’s Corner. Yes, it was culture in nature but it was also about its colonial bondage and the results of it. I often repeated that its commonwealth status was merely an abstract concept of its true colonial status, a bastion in the Caribbean.

Now, with anger in my heart, I write…, “fuck the naysayers!”

It has come full circle, that is, the colonial bondage that envelopes the island. For its economic and social status coupled along with its seemingly quagmire of a political status brings it more and more to a screaming state. Screaming in disrepair. The US, which has had its hands on Puerto Rico for well over a century, simply snubs it nose at it. Clearly, no different from what it has done with decolonization efforts. Puerto Rico’s own elected officials are always mired by political setbacks that have been in motion far longer than this generation can remember or even care to.

Soon enough, June will be upon us and Puerto Rican flags will be in abundance.  Will it be then that all the Puerto Rican pride will save us. Or can it? What the fuck are we to do? In the end it seems all we are going to have are flags to wave. History will be written about a people who were so grossly colonized,  that they wholeheartedly believed the colonizers way of life was their only option.

So, those who can leave the island, do so en mass. Running from the very things that those who choose to stay, do so for. Their belief in culture, family and the strong  ideals of their Puertoriquen-ess. Puerto Rico is no different from any other place. You have those who can, those who can’t and those who simply choose one way or another.

PR2On the other hand, in the mainland US, those who have disassociated from the culture of the island, will continue with their false banter of pride devoid of its current situation. Indeed, saddening and disheartening as we come full circle in Puerto Rico.

Now, put your mouth where your flag is!


Puerto Rico: The More Things Change, The More They Remain the Same

Nations often celebrate their independence and rightly so, whether contested or not.  But in the case of Puerto Rico, its political status leaves it with a false sense of celebration. This, of course, will either be denied or agreed upon depending on political stance.

My position stems from the invasion of Puerto RIcos by th US in 1898. That, in itself, sets off disagreement on whether it was an invasion or not. Yet, as early as May of 1898, Puerto Rico was the focus of invading US forces. Historically, many at the time welcomed the invasion under the assumption that independence would be gained under US control, especially, after 400 years under Spanish rule. But, unlike the battles fought against the indigenous people of the Americas for American expansion, the invasion of Puerto Rico was not intended to be a part of this expansion nor of independence. The era of manifest destiny had reached a point which would not include it. Instead, Puerto Rico merely went from being ruled by Spain to being ruled by the US with an empty promise of change. The first of which was the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 which granted Puerto Ricans US citizenship and in return the US gained an even greater pool of military recruits to draft into the army as America readied itself for entry into World War I.

In the early 1950’s, Puerto Rico’s  “commonwealth” status came into being,  Puerto Rico adopted its Constitution and the United Nations removed Puerto Rico from its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (colonies). While many believed this to be positive change, it was all merely smoking mirrors, for Puerto Rico, to this day, remains an unincorporated territory (colony).

Uncle Sam watches as the “Goddess of Liberty” heralds freedom for Cuba,
Puerto Rico and the Philippines

There are many facets to this Puerto Rico-US relationship. The facts are on the table. Puerto Rico’s status of ‘free association’ with the United States is a farce. It ultimately remains under US control, its local self-governing status can be unilaterally revoked by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. citizenship of Puerto Rican residents of Puerto Rico can be withdrawn.

It’s obvious that the few aforementioned facts aren’t reasons  to celebrate. Puerto Rico remains in political limbo while the US Congress continues to ignore it and it’s even more obvious that Puerto Ricans fail to see it.

The more things change,

the more they remain the same.